Q: I am a class member who did not receive a check before the end of 2010, is there anything I can do to receive payment?
A: Unfortunately, no. All of the funds that were recovered in this case have been distributed, and the court has ordered that the case be closed.
Q: Am I a member of the class?
A: The Spring 2003 Student Subclass consists of all students who attended any University of California ("UC") school on a semester system during the Spring 2003 semester, whose Educational Fee for that semester increased after they had already enrolled in classes and received bills for the semester.
The Summer 2003 Student Subclass consists of all students who attended the Summer 2003 session at UC Berkeley or UCLA and whose Educational Fee for that summer session increased after they had already enrolled and received bills for the session.
The Professional Student Subclass consists of all current and former UC students who enrolled in a UC professional degree program prior to December 16, 2002, and whose Professional Degree Fee was raised on or after that date.
Students who opted out of this lawsuit are not included in the subclasses. Students who received fee remissions from the University that fully covered the relevant fee, and students whose status as veterans' dependents entitles them to an exemption from the University's fees (the "Cal Vet exemption") are also not class members.
Q: I attended UC Hastings College of Law. Am I a member of the Professional Student Subclass?
A: No. Hastings is not governed by the Regents of the University of California.
Q: I attended an Executive MBA program, am I a member of the Professional Student Subclass?
A: You are only a subclass member if your program charged a "Professional Degree Fee" or "Fee for Select Professional Degree Students".
Q: I received a check for $x, but my classmate received a check for $y. Why are the amounts different?
A: The primary reason for differences in amounts of awards is differences in amounts of grants that were provided to students by the University. The University offset a portion of the fee increases by increasing grant awards to students. Because of this offset, students' damages awards were reduced in proportion to the amount of grants received, with students who received larger grants receiving smaller damages awards. For members of the Professional Student Subclass, damages awards also vary widely due to the different amounts charged by different degree programs, different increases charged for different years, and different periods of time attended by different students.
Q: How was my award calculated?
The following provides a detailed explanation of how damages are calculated for each subclass.
1. Spring 2003 Student Subclass: The University improperly increased Educational Fees by $135 for the Spring 2003 semester for students at UC Berkeley and the few UC professional degree programs that operated on semesters. Students who received $135 in increased grants from the University to offset the fee increase are not entitled to receive damages. Those include: (a) all students whose grants for the Spring 2003 semester increased by exactly $135 from when they were first calculated before the beginning of the semester (i.e., before the $135 fee increase), (b) all students whose "Cal Grant" or "UC Grant" increased by more than $135, which the University is confident reflects an increase to cover the full increase in the Educational Fee together with additional aid, and (c) additional students who received other grant increases of more than $135 after the start of the semester that the University believes can reasonably be assumed to cover both the $135 increase and some other need. These students were not harmed by the $135 fee increase because increases in their grant aid covered the fee increase, and so they are receiving no award. All other members of this subclass are receiving a refund of the full $135 overcharge, plus interest, minus court-approved attorneys. fees and expenses. The net award is $200.13 per student.
2. Summer 2003 Student Subclass: At UC Berkeley, the University overcharged undergraduates $160 each and graduate students $182 each for the Summer 2003 term. At UCLA, class members were overcharged $18 per credit. Only Berkeley summer students who registered for summer courses before May 22, 2003, and UCLA students who registered before May 6, 2003, had their fees increased after their registration and are members of the subclass.
Summer subclass members who received grants of less than $100 for the summer term are receiving a full refund of their overcharge, plus interest, minus attorneys' fees and expenses. Thus, a Berkeley undergrad who received no grants is receiving $160 plus $93.77 interest minus $52.52 fees and expenses, for a net award of $201.25.
Summer subclass members who received from $100 to $499 in grants are considered to have had half of their fee increase offset by increased grants. Thus, a Berkeley undergrad student with a $400 grant receives half of her $160 increase = $80 plus $46.88 interest minus $26.26 fees and expenses, for a net award of $100.62.
Summer subclass members who received grants of $500 to $1,499 are considered to have had 85% of their fee increase offset by increased grants. Thus, a Berkeley undergrad with a $1,000 grant receives a net award of $30.15.
Summer subclass members who received $1,500 or more in grants are considered to have had their fee increases covered by their grants and will not receive a damages award.
3. Professional Student Subclass.
The base damages amount for each member of the Professional Degree Student subclass was calculated by adding the amounts of professional degree fee overcharges for each semester or quarter that student was enrolled beginning in Spring 2003. As with the other subclasses, the University recycled some of the improper fee revenue back to class members in the form of increased grant aid. That grant aid was deducted from the fee overcharge totals as follows:
a. Students who received no grant aid from the University during any of the covered terms have no deduction and will receive the total of their fee overcharges plus interest, minus fees and expenses.
b. Students who received grant aid that fully covered their budgets (fees, room, and board), had these fee increases fully offset by the grants, and will receive no damages award.
c. Students who received any grant aid more than zero but less than the full budget have the total of their fee overcharges reduced based on a formula that allocates the total offset for grant increases in a proportional manner across all students who received grants, on a yearly basis. Thus, the amount of the awards to members of the Professional Degree Subclass varies tremendously even for those students within the same program and the same year because students received widely varying amounts of grants, or no grants at all. Class members will receive an amount that equals their fee overcharges, minus their share of the grant increases, plus interest, and minus fees and expenses.
Q: Do I owe taxes on my award?
A: You should consult with your tax advisor regarding the tax implications of your damages award. It is our understanding that the interest portion of your award, but not the reimbursement of your fee overcharges, is taxable, but if you have any questions, you should consult with a tax attorney or professional. If the interest component of your award equaled or exceeded $600, the Class Administrator will mail a federal 1099 Form to you prior to January 31 of the year after you received your check.
Q: How was the interest portion of my award calculated?
A: Interest payments (both total dollars and total percent) vary from class member to class member depending on the amount of damages each individual incurred in each academic term. Interest was calculated at 10% a year (simple interest, non-compounding) until June 2008, then 3% thereafter. The lawsuit went on for five-and-a-half years until funds were distributed in December 2008. Different students incurred different amounts of damages at different points during those years (depending on the amount of the overcharge in their respective program for each quarter or semester), and interest did not start to accrue on any given increment of damages until the damages were incurred. Thus, a $100 overcharge from January 2003 earned about $52 in interest, while a $100 overcharge from January 2004 earned about $42, from January 2005 about $31, etc.
The attached document provides some representative examples.